Good News and Bad News this Spring at the Farm April 23, 2016 22:04 2 Comments

Alright, it's Rod's turn to write up a blog. 

The warm weather has been nice to get an early start on spring projects. The livestock and humans enjoy the above average temperatures and are happy. The down side is the dryness. The grass is looking patchy and in desperate need of some rain. The risk of fire is very high and fire bans are in place in the county where we live. Our dugouts are not full this year. It looks like they have enough for us to get through the season but we will have to monitor closely.

Blue skies, green grass and dry spots

Blue skies, Green grass and Dry grass

On the dugout side we have used watering systems for over 20 years. These systems involve the restriction of the livestock from the water and have a pump to fill a trough that the livestock can drink from.  The benefits of this system are; better quality water delivered to the animals by ensuring no manure enters the dugout and protection for the water body from trampling damage. The systems we have involve the use of a battery to power the pump and then having a solar panel system to charge the battery. Solar was new and innovative when we first bought our systems. The cost was much higher 20 years ago for the solar panels but we knew the value they would provide for both the livestock and the small water ecosystem in the dugouts. We have had panels for so long they are actually wearing out.

The small water ecosystems are healthy and busy places this spring. Every spring we look forward to hearing the huge chorus of frogs from them. This spring is no different. Every evening the croaking can drown out human conversation when you are close. Muskrats and ducks are paddling and swimming around. The water is full of various aquatic insects.  The recent day time temperatures make it feel like you should go for a swim that is until you checked the water temperature!

Spring is also auction season in rural Alberta. It is the time when it is nice enough outside to stand around in a yard for the day and yet not too late when the farmer’s will not attend as they need to be fencing, planting crops and other critical spring  work. Auctions are more than a sale. They are a time when rural residents meet and visit. It is a time to see neighbors and acquaintances that you may not have seen all winter. It is a time to catch up on what has been happening and of course to hear opinions on what should be happening.  We attend as well. It is a place to be able to purchase good used items that can provide value to our farm. It is a good way to save a few dollars but you have to be willing to invest some time. The time needs to be invested in finding the right sale that has items you are interested in, doing a bit of research  on the item and of course going to the sale. We have made a few purchases this year that will help us out in our business.

In the meantime let’s hope for some nice fresh spring rain!